December 09, 2021

Oh What Fun It Is – Holiday Ads Spark Joy and Magic This Season

Technicolor Creative Studios’ MPC and The Mill share some holiday highlights from their latest creative collaborations as the festive spirit triumphs over another pandemic year.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Technicolor Creative Studios couldn’t be happier for the chance to collaborate again with our creative partners and top brands on their most captivating holiday ads.

“For most of us, it’s the best and most fun time of the year. Our emotions start going all over the place as Christmas approaches and for many advertisers, it’s a chance to harness that and express that creatively in (hopefully) some brilliant way,” said Chris Allen, Executive Producer at The Mill, as he and Executive Creative Director, Mike ‘Chappers’ Chapman, discussed with LBB the impact of big brand ads at Christmas, what makes them so special, and why they still matter year after year.

Here, we spotlight a collection of these festive campaigns for some of the biggest brands across the globe. With their mix of creative technology, innovation and visual artistry, these ads are sure to make the season a little bit brighter.

Amazon Prime Video – ‘An Unlikely Friendship’

This Christmas, Amazon Prime Video celebrates the power of a smile and how true joy can come from the most unlikely of friendships. The Mill teamed up with CyW and Blur Films director Chris Balmond to create this Christmas spot showcasing the friendship between Carl the zookeeper and a snarling CG hyena called Hattie who – with the help of her new friend and Amazon Prime – learns to laugh. Says VFX Supervisor at The Mill, Adam Droy, “We had to tiptoe the delicate line between a photoreal hyena and a likable, loveable character – so endearing that Carl would come to her aid in her time of need.”

Burberry – ‘Open Spaces’

Last year’s Burberry 'Festive' was the most awarded project in MPC history, winning over 16 accolades for visual effects alone. This holiday season, you can ‘ride the wind’ in this dreamlike Burberry film. As the world opens up again, the campaign explores the pioneering spirit that has been part of the brand’s heritage from the very beginning. It features four bold individuals defying gravity as they take flight – bounding weightlessly through fields, jumping and twisting through towering forests, and floating across a lake. The film was directed by MEGAFORCE through Riff Raff Films, with visual effects by MPC.

John Lewis & Partners – ‘Unexpected Guest’ (Christmas Ad 2021)

The Mill’s London studio is home to Adtext, who provided some Christmas spirit for John Lewis’s out-of-this-world Christmas advert this year. When intrepid space traveler Skye lands near the home of 14-year-old Nathan, he introduces her to the joy of festive traditions while showing her how Christmas is done. Adtext supplied the subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and the audio description for the visually impaired – for both broadcast and online – ensuring that everyone is able to enjoy the magic of Christmas through this intergalactic spot!

LEGO – ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’

From stormtroopers to dragons, LEGO’s new holiday ad celebrates the creativity of a child’s imagination during this magical season. Backed by a reimagined version of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,’ the ad takes viewers on a journey of fantastical creatures, LEGO constructed vehicles and cities, in an enchanted world that brings people together – all built using LEGO’s System in Play. The film was created by a multi-award-winning team, including direction by Traktor, production by Stink Paris and post-production by MPC.

Marks and Spencer – Percy Pig’s First Christmas Ad

This is not just any holiday ad, it’s Percy Pig’s first. Marks and Spencer’s brand mascot – and the UK’s favorite pig – is brought to CG life for the first time through market-leading animation. Percy (voiced by Tom Holland) is awakened in the dead of night by the Christmas fairy (played by Dawn French) to explore the magic that M&S Food has to offer this holiday. MPC worked closely with M&S’s brand teams and directors DOM&NIC to deliver a festive ad that leans on MPC’s legacy of crafting high-end visuals and characters for the linear screen.

Morrisons – ‘Make Good Things Happen’

You’ve heard of Father Christmas, but this year UK grocer Morrisons introduces us to a new yuletide legend: Farmer Christmas. As British farming’s single biggest customer, Morrisons celebrates farmers in its advert as a way of thanking them for all the work they do to help make Christmas so special. The Mill collaborated with Publicis and director Nick Gordon of Somesuch to craft the festive spot – featuring two children exploring the magical world of Farmer Christmas, one filled with flying combine harvesters, CG crops, self-raising cakes and more!

Neiman Marcus – ‘Celebrate Big, Love Even Bigger’

Neiman Marcus highlights “big love” in its over-the-top seasonal blitz, kicking things off with a couple’s romantic meet-cute outside its doors, which swirls off into a dreamy dance number scored to an updated version of the 1920s classic, “It Had to be You.” Says the retailer’s Chief Marketing Officer, Daz McColl, “People are eager to see each other again, and our campaign tried to capture the different dimensions of what that looks like for our customers.” The Mill’s Anais La Rocca directed the video, with full production executed by The Mill.

O2 – ‘We’re Better, Connected’ (Christmas TV Ad)

British telecom services provider O2 has created a loveable Bubl army of robots on an important mission to connect people this Christmas. This charming hero film brings customers on a journey of connection, as the Bubl army tiptoes its way into the homes of those without access to the internet. The sweet creative encapsulates the mood this Christmas which celebrates treasured moments of connection. O2 worked with UK agency VCCP London and MPC to mastermind a new integrated Christmas campaign which will see mobile data donated to those in need this festive season.

Starbucks – Four Festive Films

The holidays are not complete without your favorite Starbucks drink – and with all new red holiday cups, winter will surely be extra cozy this year. The Mill continued their collaboration with Starbucks and Big Spaceship with the creation of four festive films inspired by the joy and warmth of the holidays. Each film explores a different winter setting: whether a sunny poolside holiday party or a snowy walk through the city, we see how Starbucks holiday drinks can enhance any festive setting, no matter how you choose to celebrate.

For more holiday highlights, check out these seasonal reels from Technicolor Creative Studios: MPC Festive Round-up and The Mill Festive Reel.

Happy Holidays to all!